The San Francisco Chronicle posted a story today on its website SFGate.com identifying a U.S. proposal to establish an anti-missile defense site in
Eastern Europe for the purpose of protecting that continent from the threat posed by Iran. Nine missile interceptors have already been installed in
Ft. Greely, Alaska though the efficacy of their deterrent is still in question.
The Bush administration is moving to establish a new anti-missile site in Europe that would be designed to stop attacks by Iran against the United
States and its European allies.
The establishment of an anti-missile base in Eastern Europe would have enormous political implications. The deployment of U.S. anti-missile
interceptors in Poland, for example, would mark the first permanent U.S. military presence on that nation's soil.
Nine interceptors already have been installed at Fort Greely, Alaska, and two at Vandenberg Air Force Base in Santa Barbara County as part of a
multilayered system planned by the Pentagon. The Fort Greely and Vandenberg sites are primarily oriented against potential threats from North
Please visit the link provided for the complete story.
This appears to be an interesting strategic move on the part of the U.S. The defensive position would mark the first permanent U.S. base ever
erected in Poland and is likely to draw the ire of Russia. I suspect, however, that the move may be designed to provide the U.S. with an opportunity
to have defensive munitions in a position to strike either Russian or Chinese ICBM's in their boost phase. I believe that the recent failures of the
U.S. missile defense system indicate an inability to achieve a successful defensive deterrent to an ICBM operating at full velocity and lead to a
desire of U.S. military planners to circumvent their system's inadequacies by providing an entirely different sort of missile defense (boost phase
I suspect that there are many more facets to this story than are readily apparent. Some examples include:
-Testing failures of Missile Defense System
-Design failures of Missile Defense System
-Effort to expand a "failing" military program
-Contention that Alaskan Defense sites are to defend against strike from North Korea
On the first point, many have expressed skepticism in the scientific method surrounding the testing of the Missile Defense System. Currently, the
system has proven to be ineffective in intercepting a known target travelling along a known trajectory. In a real-world scenario, all knowledge of an
incoming ICBM's path would be reactive in nature, as it would be derived from radar tracking data and computer modelling. It is currently unknown
whether this system will ever be able to meet that task.
On the second point, many have questioned the overall logic of the proposed missile defense system and its intent to intercept targets moving at full
velocity. Those skeptics are quick to demonstrate that ICBM's are particularly vulnerable during boost phase and particularly lethal at maximum
velocity. It would be interesting to find that this proposal is designed to put deterrent forces within striking range of Eastern Hemisphere ICBM's
in boost phase.
On the third point, there exists the possibility that it is known within the military/industrial complex that the Missile Defense System will never
work. Regardless, a perceived ability to defend against an ICBM based attack has the potential to reap massive funding. By extension, an effort to
convince other nations of the benefit of such a worthless system has the potential to garner even greater amounts of capital. As some have recently
expressed considerable frustration at the less-than-veiled influx of capital into the coffers of the most notorious U.S. military contractors, one is
forced to wonder whether this is an even more thinly veiled effort to extract additional funds while preying on fears of nations that are unlikely to
see their fears realized.
Finally, it is interesting to find that while the U.S. Administration has largely ignored the North Korean nuclear threat, it has deployed a missile
defense system to specifically address that threat. Additionally, liberal estimates put North Korea's ability to manufacture nuclear weapons in the
low single digits, though nine interceptors have already been installed in Fort Greely. This either indicates that the Missile Defense System is so
ineffective that it requires a 3-1 ratio against a threat, or that North Korea is further along in their weapons development than the world has been
led to believe.
Ultimately, I believe that the fielding of a Missile Defense System in Alaska to counter the North Korean threat and the subsequent addition of
capability to Europe to counter the Iranian threat indicates that the system is unable to counter the threat posed by Russian or Chinese based
ICBM's. Further, I believe that it indicates a nihilistic foreign policy present within U.S. diplomacy which believes that neither North Korea nor
Iran can be disarmed diplomatically. Unfortunately, it seems that in the heavy-handed way that recent U.S. foreign policy has developed, such a
belief is tantamount to a self-fulfilling prophecy. The U.S. would be well served to learn that nations have, historically, not found success in
diplomatic exchanges where one party finds themselves "superior" to their fellow nation-states and disregard the possiblity of direct talks as a
result. Big military notwithstanding, if the "War on Terror" has taught us anything it is that the ability to level the battlefield with assymetric
tactics cause every enemy, from the AK weilding Somali to the ICBM weilding USSR, to be a formidable one.
[edit on 22-5-2006 by chaosrain]